Are We There Yet??? Retail Takeaways from the Lighter Side of Social Media

By Gordon Hecht, Serta Simmons Bedding

Are we there yet, are we there yet?!?

It was the favorite whine for kids whose parents would take them on long road trips (like New York to Disneyland) with no rest stops. There’s a good chance that’s how you are feeling about the COVID situation. You know that there will be a day when it’s over and we want that day to be now!

Sure, this situation is serious, but for avid social media fans like me, you must enjoy the way people are not taking themselves too seriously and finding the lighter side of shelter-in-place. I recently received a list of one-liners from Cassie Adessa of Serta Simmons in Florida. I hope you enjoy the five I selected, and the lessons we can apply to retail. Laughter, after all, is the best medicine.

Observation: “I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn the roll like I’m cracking a safe.” In our land of plenty it’s strange to have to ration so many basic supplies. There is no endless supply and there’s no square to spare!

Retail lesson: Supplies are hard to come by — just like good customers and good employees. Treat them with respect, hoard them ferociously and understand that they just might be hard to replace.

Observation: “I don’t think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks, we’d go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone.” I used to be all for change, just not in my lifetime! And the changes are coming quicker, deeper and wider than ever before.

Retail lesson: You’ll never be able to prepare for every change and every scenario.  But you can plan for some, like fire, flood, personnel changes, vehicle collisions, changes in the law and more. This is probably a good time to think about the next bad time — what can happen and what your plan is to manage it.

Observation: “I need to practice social distancing from the refrigerator.” If you’re wearing out a path in the Pergo from the recliner to the refrigerator, you’re probably eating out of boredom. Those trips are time suckers, just like games on your phone, videos on YouTube and most network news shows.

Retail lesson: It’s easy to fall into the trap of distractions, which can lead to being busy for an 8- to 10-hour workday and getting nothing accomplished. Plan a series of small tasks for each day and be relentless in getting them done.

Observation: “On Day 6 of homeschooling my child said, ‘I hope I don’t have the same teacher next year.’” Many parents have been put in the role of teacher and are learning a lesson themselves, that educating is not an easy job. But learning must go on for little Taylor and Hunter, even if they are acting like brats.

Retail lesson: Learning doesn’t end when we graduate from school. In the workplace learning is called training and store owners and managers, just like parents, need to take responsibility for teaching new skills and conduct to their staffs. Public school is a five-day-a-week thing, but retail training is an everyday thing. Small efforts like a 15- to 20-minute daily training session and a weekly 60-minute educational meeting will expand your team’s knowledge and abilities.

Cassie ended her e-mail with this thought, and I am proud to share it with you:

Remember, no storm lasts forever.

Hold on, be brave, have faith. Every storm is temporary, and we never face the storm alone. We have each other.

Gordon Hecht is Senior Regional Manager/Strategic Retail Group at Serta Simmons Bedding. You can reach him at ghecht@sertasimmons.com.